When writing a summary of a lengthy document, your goal is to boil down the document so that its main points can be read quickly and easily. At the same time, the overall gist of the document should remain in tact.
In order to write a summary of a lengthy document, you must read the
document yourself and get a solid understanding of its main purpose and
its main points. As you read the lengthy document, you should take note of what you find to be the most important points.
If you can write on the document, highlighting important points is
perhaps the easiest method for narrowing down the information you will
include in your summary. If you cannot write on the document, you might
attach Post-it notes to the document on the pages with important
information and write a small note to yourself regarding the information
contained on that page. Another alternative would be to keep a notebook
and to simply write the page number on which the information is listed
and then write a brief summary of the main points found on that page.
After you have finished reading the document and taking notes, you will
need to go back through your notes in order to determine the main
points that are to be included in your summary. You may find that you
took more notes than you have room for in your summary. If this is the
case, you will need to further narrow down your notes by weeding out the
most important information.
Remember, when writing a summary
of a lengthy document, your goal is to provide the reader with an
overview of the most important points the author is trying to make. Even
if you personally feel that certain points are more important than
others, you are to remain true to the original document and to avoid
interjecting your own opinion or bias.
If the original
document is divided into sections, one method for writing your summary
is to summarize each of the sections of the original document. In this
case, your summary should also be broken down into the same sections as
the original document. Then, write a brief summary of the section you
are summarizing. This is perhaps the easiest method for summarizing a
large document, though other methods can be used as well.
length of your summary will be largely dependent upon the requirements
that you are given. When writing the summary, however, you should not
write in list form or use other similar methods to reduce the length of
the summary. Rather, you should write in paragraph form just as in the
Since you are summarizing a larger
document, your goal is not to write a thorough essay with an
introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Rather, your purpose is to
provide the reader with an overview of the original document that
highlights the most important points. In this way, the reader can gain a
basic understanding of the original document without reading it, but
can refer to the original document for clarification and detail.
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